Although the civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009, many conflict drivers and grievances remain, and a broad reconciliation process that has credibility in the eyes of those affected has yet to take place. The Presidential elections of 8 January 2015 proved to be a watershed moment leading to a pivot of Governmental policy towards peace and reconciliation. The new Government initiated through its 100-day programme major reforms including: i) constitutional reforms; ii) tackling corruption; iii) re-engaging with the international community and the UN to address reconciliation, accountability and human rights violations iv) addressing the core grievances of minorities and IDPs and v) advancing reconciliation by establishing the office of national unity led by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Two major events in 2015 further consolidated the Government’s commitment to building lasting peace in Sri Lanka, namely the peaceful August 2015 parliamentary elections which sustained the President’s reconciliation agenda with overwhelming support, and the unanimous adoption by the Human Rights Council of a Resolution (A/HRC/30/L.29) on the OHCHR investigation in Sri Lanka.
The 2015 political transition in Sri Lanka has provided an opening for the UN to strengthen its engagement in Sri Lanka, and emphasis has been on the need to quickly address core grievances of minorities to serve as a confidence building measure. The Secretary-General committed the Peacebuilding Fund support to Sri Lanka, while renewed UN engagement led by the UN Resident Coordinator and UN Country Team and in close consultation with the Department of Political Affairs, OHCHR, UNDP and PBSO prepared a Concept Note to guide and inform the process of developing quick-win projects with the initial commitment of US$3 million of PBF funding. The Note outlined four mutually reinforcing priorities for immediate support which are: i) national consultations and technical assistance towards a credible and effective transitional justice mechanisms that meet international standards; ii) support to the Office of National Reconciliation; iii) resettlement of remaining IDPs; and iv) capacity building for the Northern and Eastern Provincial Councils to enable them to plan and deliver peace dividends to the population. PBF support has already released funding for the IDPs resettlement project ($1.2 million; UNHCR and UNICEF), addressing a key grievance and building on the new commitment of Government to make land available. The Government of Sri Lanka seeks further support for achieving reconciliation, accountability, strengthening democracy, rule of law and institutions, securing sustainable economic progress
Total funding support in US$:
- Total IRF allocation: $4,200,000
[Commitment by PBF of $3 million for a package of activities, of which the first $1.2 million has been programmed and disbursed.]
Focus of PBF support:
Below is the list of current PBF projects:
|Project name/ ID||Focus||Period||Budget||RUNOs|
|Support for Sri Lanka national reconciliation efforts by addressing grievances of the concerned sections of the population through targeted resettlement of the last of the conflict affected internally displaced persons
|This project supports peacebuilding opportunities created by the election of President Sirisena in January 2015 and helps to address the grievances of the minorities and vulnerable groups by facilitating the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) on land being released by the military from High Security Zones in the north (Jaffna) and the east (Trincomalee).
|June 2015-December 2016||$1,200,000||UNHCR
Overview of PBF support and results:
Although the first project only started implementation in July 2015, a key achievement has already been to held the Government of Sri Lanka to commission the implementation of one of the key policy benchmark the One Hundred Day Program focusing on “taking immediate actions to address the core grievances of minorities and IDPs through the resettlement of IDPs on released land that was occupied by the military.
Updated October 2015
Quarterly reports for each project are available on the MPTF-O Gateway site